Technology has transformed the office from brick and mortar to anywhere you happen to be—the new office is a virtual office. As technology advances, your business phone system needs to keep pace, and increasingly, businesses of all sizes are turning to virtual phone systems.
How do you know if a virtual phone system is right for your business? What features does it offer? How do you select a virtual phone system provider? This guide will walk you through it all.
How Virtual Phone Systems Work
For the most part, a virtual system works just like a traditional phone system. A call comes in to your business, and the system routes the call to a phone. The main differences come down to the hardware and the provider:
- Traditional phone system: Relies on a traditional phone company and a system of traditional landlines.
- Virtual phone system: Uses cloud-based technology to route calls to any device.
Here’s how it works for a business owner:
- Choose a virtual phone system provider.
- Choose a number (or use the one you already have).
- Download the app.
- Configure your settings.
- Make and receive calls.
From your customer’s point of view, there is no difference between a traditional and virtual phone system. The customer picks up the phone and calls your business. Depending on how you configure your virtual phone system, the call can route through custom menus, to virtual voicemail, or directly to you or any team member.
Who Should Get a Virtual Phone System?
Anyone can use a virtual phone system, but there are certain cases where the flexibility and cost savings truly shine.
Small Business Owners
Traditional business phone systems are expensive. Virtual phone systems are not. Not only do virtual systems provide the same business features as traditional systems, but they offer additional features that traditional systems can’t, such as call analytics. This is because virtual phone systems run on state-of-the-art technology.
Since all the heavy lifting is done in the cloud, business owners don’t have to worry about maintenance, upgrades, or dedicated IT departments. This eliminates hardware and headaches, and you can use a mobile device that you already have.
Solopreneurs work for themselves, by themselves. For many, this can be a gift and a curse—there is no team to manage, but also no team to share the burden. When you’re not at your desk, there is no live person to answer the phones. When you’re on vacation, business comes to a grinding halt until you return.
Here’s where a virtual phone can come to the rescue. It allows you to automate your phone system without additional equipment. You won’t need to miss leads because you can answer calls wherever you are or return voicemails in a timely manner. It also gives clients a professional image of a much larger operation. In a nutshell, virtual phone systems are like having an around-the-clock receptionist—something that every solopreneur needs.
Businesses with Remote Workers
If you run a business with a remote team, a virtual phone system can offer immense productivity value. One hurdle for remote teams is staying in contact to keep the business moving. Virtual phone systems let your team members work from anywhere because calls can route to any mobile device they already have. There is no additional equipment, and the team still gets the benefits of having business phone features.
Work-life Balance Seekers
Maintaining work-life balance is difficult, particularly when mobile phones give us the power to work from anywhere. And if your business phone is your personal phone, it makes the balancing act even harder.
With a virtual phone system, you’ll not only see who’s calling, but which of your phone numbers they’re calling. You can answer the call, send it to voicemail, or direct it through your smart routing chain. A virtual phone system leverages the mobility of your mobile device while keeping your business life separate from your personal life.
Features of a Virtual Phone System
A virtual phone system comes stocked with a suite of features to save time and help your business grow:
- Auto-attendants professionally answer your call, ensuring your customers don’t get a busy signal.
- Call forwarding allows you to take calls on whichever device you choose, effectively cutting the cord that previously tied you to your desk.
- Customizable menus direct your customers to a specific department or extension.
- Smart routing lets you create custom “rules” that determine where a call goes in a variety of scenarios.
- And much more!
Benefits of a Virtual Phone Number
Here is a look at the most important benefits that a virtual phone number offers:
- No contracts. No one wants to sign their life away just to get a phone system. Tresta’s virtual phone system has no contracts, commitments, or other fine-print pitfalls.
- Use your own device. There’s no hardware or fancy phones to buy—virtual phone systems work with any device.
- Choose your number. Choose a local number to establish a local presence, a toll-free number to expand your reach, or both. You can even port in your existing number.
- Gain business insight. When you can see how your customers and staff are interacting over the phone, you have valuable, inside data to your business—from call counts and duration to call volume trends and effectiveness.
- Keep your personal phone number private. No one wants to advertise a personal cell phone number on every business card and marketing PR. Use a virtual phone number instead so you can keep your private number what it was intended to be—private.
- Create a better customer experience. Customers don’t like to waste time on hold or call repeatedly only to get a busy signal. A quick, good call experience leaves customers happy, and happy customers are more likely to lead to brand growth and referrals.
- Level the playing field. If you run a small business, it can seem like you’re at a disadvantage when compared to bigger companies. A virtual phone number can actually help make you more competitive.
- Save Money. A virtual phone system costs less than a traditional business phone system and comes with more features. To put it simply, get more, pay less.
These are just some of the benefits of a virtual phone system, which can have a positive impact on just about every facet of your business.
How to Select a Virtual Phone System Provider
You’ve examined the evidence and delivered a verdict: a virtual phone system is the right choice for you. But out of the thousands of systems (and companies) on the market, which should you choose?
One of the major advantages of virtual phone systems is the cost. You know that a virtual system will save you money over a traditional business phone system, but of all the virtual system providers, which will provide the best value for your business? Start by figuring out what features you need, and then compare prices across providers to see who will give you the most bang for your buck.
Reliability of your business phone system is another major factor to consider. Downtime costs money and opportunity. When choosing a virtual system, investigate the provider and choose one with a proven track record of reliability.
No matter how reliable your system is, there will inevitably come a time when you need some form of customer support. Make sure you a select a provider that’s available 24/7, so you can get the support you need when you need it.
Security is another major concern for all businesses, no matter the size. A breach or a hack may be the data center’s fault, but your customers certainly won’t see it that way when it’s their data on the line. Go with a company that provides secure features, like encrypted call recording, and can deliver on their security promise.
A great virtual phone system should allow you to grow easily. Is there a limit to the amount of numbers you can tie to your account? Do you need to call the provider every time you need to make a change, such as add or delete extensions? A system that is user friendly enough to do most of the customizations yourself, whenever you want and without an IT team, is often the most convenient and ideal.
A call is often one of the first interactions customers will have with your business. Doing your homework on which virtual phone system provider to choose will pay off—both literally and figuratively.
Get Started with a Virtual Phone System
Sometimes complex problems have simple solutions. A virtual system gives you freedom and flexibility at a fraction of the cost of a traditional phone system. You get the business features you need and pay less.
If you still have questions, we’re happy to help. Or, if you’re ready for a better phone solution for your business today, start your 30-day risk-free trial with Tresta, and see for yourself.